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June 2021

Arsenal v Leicester: how exactly do the teams compare with our position last season

By Bulldog Drummond

If it is an Arsenal match, then it must be time to talk about Alexis Sánchez leaving and going to, well, anywhere, everywhere, you name it.   Except this time Arsène Wenger has said there is no way that Alexis Sánchez will leave Arsenal this summer even if it means going on a free next year.  A very different ploy from the one used when the renegade van Persie walked out on the club that had calmed him down and evolved his career in 2012.  Or when Fabregas left, after Arsenal rescued him from never playing for Barcelona.

And maybe Mr Wenger is onto something since he is convinced Alexis will re-sign.   And also there is more in the language of Mr Wenger to suggest he too is staying.  He said, “If Alexis doesn’t sign a new deal, will I make him stay? Yes.   Would I rather keep him than sell him to a Premier League rival? Yes. I don’t think you would sell him to any Premier League club, that is for sure. Why not? The question is more why would you sell him to another Premier League club? You want to be as strong as you can be and not strengthen the other teams.

“I think he will sign and stay because, first of all, he is happy here. His desire is to stay. That is what I deeply believe. The disagreements are purely contractual – not on the desire. Both parties have the desire to find an agreement, so I think it will happen.”

Mr Wenger also gave assembled journalists a talk on the way contracts work, which must have bemused some of them who are more used to six word paragraphs and complaints that the press conference starts late.   He said,

“You amortise a transfer during the length of the contract.  So, when you pay an amount of money and when the player signs a four-year contract, you deduct every year 25% of a contract. The problem that you have to analyse, always, is: ‘Can you find better? For what kind of money?’ The inflation is so big that sometimes, even mathematically, there can be advantages to keep a player until the end of a contract.  It will all be decided in the summer,” he said.

Before the cup semi-final we took a look at Arsenal’s goal scorers, preparing ourselves, of course, for the “Arsenal had only two players who scored in double figures” approach that the Guardian ran last summer.

So far this season 17 players have scored 10 or more league goals.  Leicester have one such player – a Mr Vardy who has scored 11.   Clubs in the “only two” level and above (the level that the Guardian highlighted) are Tottenham (3), Arsenal (2), Chelsea (2), Liverpool (2).  If we look at the players on nine and eight goals the only one who could affect that little list of four clubs with two or more players in double figures this season, is Giroud on nine.  A goal for him tonight will take us to the “only three” level.

Meanwhile, I thought it might be interesting to compare some statistics between today’s protagonists, and include in the chart not just Arsenal and Leicester this season, but also those two clubs last season to see if I could spot where things have not gone so well

Event Arsenal 15/16 Arsenal 16/17 Leicester 15/16 Leicester 16/17
Goals per match 1.71 2.03 1.79 1.28
Shots on target 211 156 179 123
Shooting accuracy 37% 34% 34% 33%
Woodwork events 21 13 11 6
Pass accuracy 84% 84% 71% 70%
Cross accuracy 25% 20% 23% 19%
Yellows 40 52 48 56
Reds 4 2 3 1
Fouls 202 176 205 193
Offsides 86 75 50 44

The figures for 2015/16 are for the whole season, obviously for 2016/17 they are for just this far into the season.   That obviously makes a difference, although I suspect little difference to the percentage figures.  But even allowing for this we can pick out a few bits and pieces.

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For example we’ve increased our goals per match this season to above that of Leicester last season when they won the league, and have done that even though our shooting accuracy has declined.  But that has happened because we have hit the post and bar far fewer times than last season.   If you accept that hitting the bar or post and the ball not going in is unlucky we were very unlucky last season with 21 woodwork events.

As you would expect we out pass Leicester consistently, and our passing accuracy level is itself consistent at 84%.  Their pass accuracy is consistent too (71% and 70%).

Leicester are looking to be en route to committing many more fouls this season than last – our number will probably come in the same as last season.

If you want a single thing that has really changed this season from last, when we came second, it is the shooting and crossing accuracy.

Last point.  Here’s the league table as it stands now and below how it stood after the same number of games last season.

League table today

Last season at this moment.   As you can see, at this point last season we had won 17, drawn 7 and lost 7.  This season we have won 17, drawn 6 and lost 8.  We are one draw behind.    Last season we had a goal difference of +22.  This season it is +23.

Up next, the teams

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9 comments to Arsenal v Leicester: how exactly do the teams compare with our position last season

  • Great analysis
    while hitting the post/bar is not considered to be “on target” still beats me…yes i know its not a goal but it should be counted in calculating how many shots on target a team/player had as it is to me the unluckiest way to be denied scoring.

  • JimB

    It’s not unlucky to hit the woodwork. The dimensions of the goal didn’t suddenly change. So it’s a miss like any other miss – albeit that it is as close to being a goal as a miss can be.

  • cockanee

    No article on the Hammers and Newcastle yet? Missing a trick or are you just too excited you cannot write.

  • para

    This team as a whole has always been capable, but it seemed to me like they were only at 3/4 flame except on occasions.

    Hope the “new” formation can add to us.

    AW said:
    ” the advantage of the system we play at the moment is that it’s easy to transform during the game into a 4-4-2 or a 4-2-3-1″

    This will, i hope, unlock that freedom that players need, giving us the free flow play of Arsenal once again.

    Is it too early to think of new impossible things? 🙂

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    What happens to my comment posting on this article posting that is threading which I posted some 30 minutes or so ago? I haven seen it in the comment read.

  • Menace

    It is worth considering that goal dimensions may not be the same at every ground. There has never been an official that has checked the size of the goal posts before the match. The officials check the nets which are not mandatory. There is never a check of the penalty spot for loose turf or for that matter accurate positioning – not that I have ever seen prior to matches starting.

    So much variation that it pales when one considers the amount of money is involved.

  • Sammy The Snake

    What has changed greatly is that we conceded 36 goals for the whole of the season last year, but have already shipped 40 goals this year!
    That’s a major reason for our troubles this year.
    It means our GA average for 2015/16 was 0.95 and is now 1.29. That’s a 36% change in the wrong direction, and explain our move down the EPL table.
    I’m surprised you didn’t pick up on that, you’re usually too smart to miss something so glaring!

  • We were waiting to see if the people who wrote our previous coverage of tax fraud within clubs had anything that could be added to what has appeared on the newspaper websites, but we can’t get anything else at the moment that we can use so included it in this lunchtime’s piece. As you may recall we did cover Portsmouth extensively, probably more extensively than anyone else did, and watched the Redknapp tax case with much interest, plus the various episodes of the Rangers case (which as you may know) is now coming alive again. Not sure anyone is getting excited though. The issue of image rights investigations has been going on for quite a while, and there is a lot of interest in the way certain clubs in Spain handle it, again which we have touched on from time to time.

  • Menace

    A result on a cold night. Some expected decisions according to the Laws for Arsenal .